Hairsine Community Park Renewal

The Cause

The existing playground in our neighbourhood needs to be replaced in the near future and more importantly it needs renewed life! As neighbours we want to enhance the lifespan of our outdoor amenity, plus create a gathering place for all. Our community group is a super league within Edmonton, Alberta encompassing the neighbourhoods of Hairsine, Kirkness, Clareview Campus and Ebbers. We aim to be vibrant and welcoming to all neighbours by engaging our diverse community in programs, events, and projects like this one.

Hairsine Park is well positioned as a community hub in the Hairsine neighbourhood as it is surrounded by an elementary school, jr. high school and other park amenities. Our idea is to have children and youth take center stage in the creative process to become community catalysts. We will work with both schools to have students draw pictures of structures they want to climb on, build park features with Legos, write letters of support, fundraise and budget for what they envision. By engaging kids, teens and their families in this way we plan to create a park space where the community feels a sense of ownership, belonging and pride.

Part of our idea also includes the addition of a gazebo gathering space. Our current park has some trees but there are no benches or tables nearby so it doesn’t provide the needed shade protection for park users to sit for longer periods of time, regardless of the weather. Incorporating a sheltered gathering space would open up opportunities for other activities: family reunions, sitting to play games, birthday parties, group meetings, etc. Our hope is to improve both physical and social infrastructure in our community.

Who Will it Benefit?

In our neighbourhood the majority of available housing around Hairsine Park are rental properties, which houses many individuals and families from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Afghanistan, Darsi, Pashto, Ukraine, Congo, Columbia, Peru, Mexico and a large Indigenous population. This park renewal project will benefit many new Canadians and will be an ideal location for cultural gatherings. For example, families who are of Islamic faith can gather in the park after Ramadan and Indigenous art and teaching are planned to be incorporated in the design.

To have a gathering place within walking distance is particularly important in our district. In our area the Social Vulnerability Index is medium to high with a higher percentage of the population living with low income. This project will benefit many low income households.

Other groups who will benefit from this park redevelopment project are the over 20 soccer teams registered in our soccer program; this is the largest program in our district. Also, the league operates 2 functioning skating rinks each winter and offers hall rentals, a community garden program and hosts several free community events each year. In addition, Green Shack recreation staff are onsite in the summer for neighbourhood kids, this is based around the park. Abbotsfield Youth Project uses the park space for youth programming and Community Little League Baseball utilizes ball diamonds in the park. Many group members use the playground before, during or after their programs.